On behalf of the Cook County Health System, we recognize April as National Donate Life Month. We applaud Secretary Jesse White’s leadership on organ donation.

Today is about partnership between the health system, the Secretary White’s office and the community.

Today is an effort to call Cook County residents to join the effort and become an organ donor.

Currently, there are more than 5.2 million people registered to become organ/tissue donors in Illinois.

We all know someone who has been touched by this issue. It’s an honor to be able to salute the people at Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network who are working day in and day out to coordinate and promote organ donations. And save we also commend our patients as donating can save a neighbor’s life.

Becoming an organ donor is an important personal commitment that saves tens of thousands of lives every year. This is about increasing awareness about preventative health care and education on illnesses that so often afflict members of our community. More importantly I would like to encourage people to learn more about becoming living organ donors and/or organ donors.

Illinois has built one of the nation’s largest donor registries with more than 5.5 million participants. Our medical staff will tell you that donating blood is one simple way people can help. More than 4.5 million lives are saved each year through blood transfusions and 40,000 pints of blood are used daily in the United States. And County is the home of the World’s first blood bank.

Cook County Health patients can register to be a donor at LifeGoesOn.com, by visiting their local Driver’s Services facility or for general information log onto www.cookcountyhhs.org.